If you’re going through a divorce, you know it can get ugly very fast. When it comes to things like child support, alimony and custody, it’s almost as if you need a referee. That’s why you need a Houston child custody attorney. They can be the one to mediate these types of decisions.
When you’re trying to come up with a child custody plan, there are a lot of things you need to consider. Ideally, you and your ex will be able to come up with a plan that works for both of you. If this isn’t possible, your family law attorney will have to go to court on your behalf.
As far as a judge is concerned, the only thing that matters when it comes to custody is the best interests of your children. They won’t let the kids become bargaining chips in your divorce. They also won’t one parent use custody as a way to get more money out of their ex.
So, what things can you use to convince the court that you should have primary custody? Your Houston family lawyer will help you come up with the best possible strategy.
Which Parent Should Have Primary Custody?
Typically, in a divorce, you need to determine who will have primary custody of the kids. The other parent will be allowed visitation, but, for the most part, the kids will live in one parent’s house.
The court wants the kids to make it out of the divorce as unscathed as possible. It’s impossible that they won’t be affected at all. They’re going to be upset. They may even become depressed at the prospect of their mom and dad breaking up. So, it’s important that you don’t interrupt their lives any more than absolutely necessary.
The children need to maintain some semblance of normalcy after the divorce. This means the primary custodial parent should be able to offer the following:
- Seamless transition at school
- No interruption in their sports and extra-curricular activities
- Be home to feed the dinner, get them ready for bed and do homework
- Be able to get the children to their doctor’s appointments
- Make sure the kids are able to see their friends
A lot of times, one parent works full-time and the other stays at home with the kids. If this is the case, the court will usually grant custody to the stay at home parent. This may not seem fair, but it makes the most sense for the kids.
Are There Red Flags that Can Prevent One Parent from Having Child Custody?
There are some things that serve as red flags when it comes to custody. When a judge sees some of these things, they are reluctant to award custody. This is because they fear it will have a negative impact on the children.
Some of the things that are red flags when it comes to custody include:
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Criminal history
- Inability to maintain stable housing
- Lack of employment/income
- Affiliation with dangerous people
- A home that isn’t conducive to children
- Living in a different school district
If your attorney can show that your ex has some or all of these criteria, you may be able to show the court that they aren’t a fit parent. You just want to be careful how you do this. Anything you say about the other parent will become part of the court records. You don’t want to antagonize them if it’s not the best thing for your children.
Be Careful About What Accusations You Make
When fighting for custody, you want to be careful about how you disparage your spouse. If the judge thinks you’re just being difficult, or out to make the other parent look bad, they’ll hold it against you.
You want to make sure you have solid evidence to back up your claims. Your Houston family lawyer will help you do this. In order to make any of these allegations against the other parent, make sure you can prove your case.
Some of the evidence you can submit to show the other parent is unfit may include:
- Criminal history
- Proof that they have failed to complete a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program
- Evidence of domestic violence
- Pictures of their home
- Proof that they have lost their job
- Statements by witnesses
If you truly believe the other parent isn’t fit to take care of your children, let your Houston child custody lawyer know. They can file a motion with the court on your behalf. Call Eddington & Worley and speak to an experienced family law attorney in Houston right away.